The most controversial comics imprint of all time is back from the dead at Oni Press

EC Comics
(Image credit: Oni Press)

The notorious horror comics imprint EC is back from the dead! The publisher behind titles like Tales from the Crypt, Weird Science, and The Vault of Horror, is being relaunched at Oni Press (who seem to be on a bit of a hot streak at the moment) later this year. Two books - Epitaphs from the Abyss and Cruel Universe - will mark the first new releases under the EC banner in almost seven decades. 

Oni has assembled a huge cast of big name comics talent for this resurrected EC. The new line will feature contributions from - deep breath - Jason Aaron, Brian Azzarello, Rodney Barnes, Corinna Bechko, Cullen Bunn, Christopher Cantwell, Cecil Castellucci, Chris Condon, Joshua Hale Fialkov, J. Holtham, Jeff Jensen, Matt Kindt, Sean Lewis, Stephanie Phillips, Jay Stephens, Zac Thompson, Ben H. Winters, Kano, Peter Krause, Leomacs, Malachi Ward, Dustin Weaver, and more. 

Lee Bermejo, Greg Smallwood, and J.H. Williams III are the confirmed cover artists, with more to be announced. Here's Bermejo cover for Epitaphs from the Abyss #1.

Art from Epitaphs From The Abyss #1

(Image credit: Oni Press)

"Seventy years ago, EC Comics redefined what comics could be with shocking, confrontational and brilliantly crafted stories that challenged the existential issues at the center of American life - censorship, racism, sexism, nuclear proliferation, and more. Today, those battles continue in alarming and pernicious new ways," said Oni Press editor-in-chief, Sierra Hahn, who will be overseeing the new EC. "What better time to resurrect the undying spirit of EC Comics - one of the most entertaining, subversive, and influential publishers of all time - with an all-star cast of storytellers to examine today's society through the lens that William Gaines and his legendary collaborators have left us."

Here's Greg Smallwood's cover for Cruel Universe #1.

Art from Cruel Universe #1

(Image credit: Oni Press)

EC (which originally stood for Educational Comics) was founded by Max Gaines in the 1940s. His son William inherited the company following his father's death in 1947 and changed its direction in favor of publishing horror, science fiction, and crime titles, going so far as to change the company name to Entertaining Comics.

The rebranded EC was a huge success, quickly developing a dedicated fanbase and selling millions of copies, but it also found itself the target of a backlash due to a growing national moral panic about the content of comics. Although Gaines and EC attempted to work within the restrictions of the newly founded - and censorious - Comics Code Authority, many battles were fought. Notably, 1956's Incredible Science Fiction #33 came under fire for including a story about a Black astronaut. While EC refused to alter the strip, it proved to be the last comic that the company printed, with EC switching focus to magazines with illustrated stories instead shortly afterwards.

The new EC Comics begins with Epitaphs from the Abyss #1 in July, with Cruel Universe #1 following in August, both published by Oni Press. Following the release of these titles, Oni are promising that at least two new EC titles will be published every month.

EC employed some incredible artists, including some of the names that make up our guide to the best horror comics artists of all time.

Will Salmon
Comics Editor

Will Salmon is the Comics Editor for GamesRadar/Newsarama. He has been writing about comics, film, TV, and music for more than 15 years, which is quite a long time if you stop and think about it. At Future he has previously launched scary movie magazine Horrorville, relaunched Comic Heroes, and has written for every issue of SFX magazine for over a decade. He sometimes feels very old, like Guy Pearce in Prometheus. His music writing has appeared in The Quietus, MOJO, Electronic Sound, Clash, and loads of other places and he runs the micro-label Modern Aviation, which puts out experimental music on cassette tape.